Thursday, September 30, 2010

$27.6 Million for Street Signs?

I thought this was a joke - Remember that time you were trying to read a street sign but you couldn't do it in time so you coasted into the middle of the intersection and got into an accident that cost you thousands of dollars in repairs and hospital bills? If only the sign had said "Stop" instead of "STOP." What? That never happened to you? You must have at least a 1st-grade reading level! Wow. You're so smart. I'm jealous of your mad reading skills.

The government is making NYC (and everyone else too) change its uppercase street signs into upper and lowercase. At $110/sign, with a quarter of a million signs in the City, NYC tax payers get to shell out over $27M for the change. I first read this on FOX News, so I assumed it was factually incorrect, but it turned out to be true. Apparently, a recent study has confirmed that people can read Upper and Lower case faster than JUST UPPERCASE. See how you slowed down there at the end of the sentence? Crazy, huh? One tmie I got an eaiml taht siad as lnog as the frsit and lsat lrettes are crorcet, you culod siltl raed ecah wrod fnie. But somehow, it's harder to read BROADWAY than Broadway. Really? Anybody driving in the City that needs extra time to read street signs SHOULDN'T BE DRIVING IN THE CITY!! Take a cab. They can drive with their eyes closed. And I think some of them do.

How did this idea pass anyway? Aren't there better things to spend our money on? Wouldn't changing the font of street signs be somewhere near the bottom of the priorities list? Our national debt is at $13 Trillion, and I don't know what New York City's debt is but I know the MTA would love a check for $27.6M. Maybe that would stave off another fare hike for a while.

NYC School Grades are Slipping

Last year, 84% got A's. This year, 25% got A's - Even the kids in "F" schools know that 25% is lower than 84%. A lot lower. NYC's Department of Education just released this year's progress report which grades each school (how smart their kids are, how is the learning environment, etc) and compares them to other similar schools elsewhere in the City (like is the average 4th-grader in Queens smarter than a 4th-grader in Staten Island? The answer is yes, even though I could have told you that without knowing the results). They claim that the schools are not performing worse than last year, just that the grading criteria used by the Department of Education changed this year and that is why they received lower grades. Apparently, last year they asked each school what grade they felt they deserved, and they all said A. This year, the schools were actually graded. And just to prove to each school how dumb they actually are, they put the progress report results on a completely unintelligible Excel sheet, with the instructions, "If you can't read this, just assume you failed."

ps: If your school failed, don't worry. I failed too. I couldn't make sense of the progress report either. I got my info from the Wall Street Journal. They're smart enough to understand it. :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

March on Washington with Jon Stewart for Free!

All the Cool People are Doing It - If you haven't heard of Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, then stop reading this post. But if you're as excited about Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" or Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive" as I am, or the other 175,000 people that have already committed to attending are, then read on. Arianna Huffington (as in Huffington Post, who knew Huffington was an actual person?) promised on the Daily Show that she would provide free bus transportation for anybody who wants to go (from NYC to DC). The bus will pick you up at the HuffPost's Soho headquarters (560 Broadway at Prince Street). More details will come, follow the HuffPostBus on Twitter for the latest info or click this link to reserve your spot. The event takes place October 30, from noon to 3pm. I'm assuming Huffington will also bring us back from DC, but they haven't said anything about that yet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Green City Fair 2010

Because You're Not as Green as You Want to Be - GrowNYC - Let's face it. Being green is not just a fad. This term is sticking around for the long haul, baby. So if you're not already on board, this is your chance to jump on the bandwagon. GrowNYC is putting on their 2nd annual "New Green City" event on tomorrow at Union Square and they're expecting more than 100,000 people to show up. It's completely free, and besides all the educational things you can learn there (there will be booths set up by government agencies, non-profit organizations, and green entrepreneurs), there are interactive exhibits, do-it-yourself tutorials, art exhibits and even a scavenger hunt. And if that's not enough, two green super-powers will grace us with their presence: The Green Man (he's... interesting) and Super Earth. (Click that link. It will be the best 37 seconds you waste today.) So don't miss this event. Union Square South Plaza, Wed. Sept 29, 10am to 6pm.

M.I.A. Free Concert in Brooklyn

Free Paper Planes for Everyone - M.I.A. just announced that she'll be doing a free show in the Brooklyn Bowl on October 6 at 9pm. Back in July, when her fans went all the way down to Governors Island only to be entertained by crappy sound and half a set due to lightning and a torrential downpour, she promised to make it up to them by putting on another free show. Unfortunately, not everybody can get in. The Brooklyn Bowl can only fit 600 people, so first-come-first-serve. Also, they're supposedly not letting anybody line up until 7pm. Yeah right. They're gonna have 1000 people walking in 3' circles on the sidewalk in front of the building so they're not "standing" in line, just loitering. If you wanna see this show, I suggest you get there by 5pm at the latest. Doors open at 9pm. 61 Wythe Avenue b/t N. 11th & 12th streets, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 718-963-3369

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Katy Perry has Unprotected something

The California Gurl is Available - Katy Perry (you know her, she's too hot for Sesame Street) and her fiancé Russell Brand just bought an apartment on North Moore Street in Tribeca (which is only 3 1/2 blocks long, so it can't be that hard to find a $2.7 million penthouse). The crazy thing is that the building (here's another hint) doesn't have a doorman so stalkers and paparazzi can just walk right in. At first I thought that was crazy, but then I remembered what Brand did to the last paparazzi dude that got too close. So maybe Katy just wants to see her fiancé defend her at home by beating up some more people. I'm pretty sure it's legal to kick the crap out of somebody if they're trespassing in your building. So if you're planning on stalking Katy, proceed at your own risk.

And yes I did follow the Muslim Mosque post with a Katy Perry story. I'm that versatile. Booyah.

Some UK website just released pictures of the apartment. It's ridiculous. I didn't even know they made apartments like that.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh, Come On Muslims! Just Give it Up!

Ground Zero Mosque - Quinnipiac just released a poll that surveyed not just NYC residents, but voters throughout New York state, and everyone agrees on the same things (Republicans, Democrats, and even the Tea Party):

1. We know you have the right to build it there. (Well, at least 80% of us know it. The other 20% didn't understand the question.) Nobody's arguing with you. We've all read the Bill of Rights.

2. Only 21% of people think you actually should build it there. Most, 67%, think you should voluntarily move the plans somewhere else. Don't you already own property in Tribeca? So you outgrew the space and you need a bigger building. Why not stay in Tribeca? Renovate your building. Why not blow it up and build a bigger one? I'm sure you can find construction workers in New York willing to destroy your mosque for you. Probably for free. Which is great because they definitely won't help build the Park51 center.

Even the Muslim former Miss USA, Rima Fakih, thinks it's a bad idea to build it there. And she's pretty. So you should listen to her.

So let's recap.

You have the right to build it, but you don't have construction workers. Try building something in Lower Manhattan without the support of the workers unions. Good luck.

You have a 21% approval rating. Did you know that no U.S. President has ever had that low of an approval rating? Ever. Not Bush. Not the other Bush. Not even Truman (the lowest at 23%). You know what Nixon did when his approval rating dropped to 24%? He resigned.

This is not an attack on Islam. It never has been. If all of the hijackers on 9/11 were Mormon, do you think we'd let a Mormon temple near ground zero? Or if they were all gay or black or women or any other random group that had 1 thing in common, do you think we'd allow a community center for that 1 thing anywhere near ground zero? It sucks that all the hijackers were Muslim. It really does. I'm sorry there are some bad apples in your religion. Every group has them and it's sad that so many of your members, great people and wonderful New Yorkers, have to deal with the ignorant slander, hatred, and stupidity of so many people. But this is not about that. New Yorkers love muslims. I wish there were more of you here. Because I think that would get us more Rafiqi's. And that's a better New York for everyone.

Just give up the mosque at ground zero. Do you think your congregation cares where they meet? Is the Park51 location crucial? Will you lose membership if you moved it up by Canal or over to South Street? Or just stay in Tribeca. If De Niro is cool with you there, I'm cool with you there.

Free FitFlop Stuff

Have you Microwobbled yet? - FitFlop Foot Patrol - You've seen the ads on the subways. I'm sure those models got those perfectly toned long legs from wearing fitflops for an hour-long shoot. But who knows? Maybe. If you want to see if they'll work fitness magic on you, now's your chance. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the FitFlop Foot Patrol is hitting up 3 different locations from 11am to 6pm and letting you try out their stuff, spin a wheel for prizes, and win free shwag. Their website makes it sound pretty enticing. I'm headed over to the Apple store now after I finish this post to see what it's all about. Enjoy!

Friday - Apple Store at 5th and 59th
Saturday - Corner of Prince and Mercer in Soho
Sunday - Union Square (at 14th Street, where all the events are)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Undie Party

Look good naked? - Desigual down in Soho is a funky little shop with a unique approach to marketing: Get people to show up almost naked and you'll make a lot of noise for your store. Mission Accomplished. The first 100 people to show up tomorrow morning in their underwear get to pick out a free (2-piece) outfit. Everyone else (if you don't get in line at 7am) gets 50% off. The store opens at 9am. If you're into graphic tees, patchwork denim, and "I can wear this because I'm cooler than you" clothes, this is the place for you. But if you do this, just know you'll not only get a free outfit, you'll probably be on the next viral video on YouTube. 594 Broadway at Houston.

TV on the Subway

Mindless Entertainment for your Mindless Commute - Somebody took a candid picture of me one day while riding the subway. I looked like a zombie. I'm a pretty happy person by default, but apparently I shut down into hibernation mode on the train. Which makes sense. I just zone out for 30 minutes until I switch to the local. It's probably the same look that people have when they zone out in front of the tv for 4 hours a day. So it makes sense that they would put tv's on the subway. And I think it's great. I don't even have tv in my house (I watch everything on Hulu), so seeing baseball highlights would be great. And why are other articles I read so upset? Do they hate baseball? Only terrorists hate baseball. The tv's don't even affect commuters. They're on the Shuttle. What actual New Yorker EVER rides the shuttle? If you really need to get to Times Square (or if Gawker really wants to avoid the tv's), take the 7, it's so much faster.

And seriously, if putting tv's on subways keeps the fare at $89, I'm in. Even when it goes systemwide.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Madonna at Macy's

The Material Girl Lost Her Magic - Last week, Macy's launched their new "Find Your Magic" campaign with fireworks, musical performances, and Jessica Simpson. Afterward, she met people (if you bought $50 worth of her stuff). Apparently, it did well for her and Madonna was jealous. So Madonna and her daughter Lola AND Taylor Momsen (from Gossip Girl) are showing up this evening to promote their stuff, but Madonna is one-upping Jessica. To meet Madge, you'll have to spend $75 on the Material Girl collection. The shindig starts at 6:30, but based on the line for Jessica Simpson, you'll have to start shopping around 4 to see Madonna (only the first 350 get the VIP passes). Macy's at Herald Square, 4th Floor.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday - Free NYC Events

It's Sunday! And you don't have anything to do? Go to church, you heathen. And since you shouldn't spend money on Sunday, here's a list of free things to do:

You Wish You Were Tarzan - Alley Pond Park Adventure Course - This. Place. Is. Awesome! High-ropes, low-ropes, a zip-line, a bouldering wall, cargo nets, the whole works. It's the City's largest challenge course and one of the best in the nation. If you've never done a high-ropes course, they're really fun. Conquer your fear of heights, trust random strangers to catch you (or at least break your fall), and problem solve to figure out a way to get your team through all the obstacles in the course. They do two first-come-first-served groups for free on Sunday. One at 10am and the other at 1:30pm. Get there early to ensure your spot. The only bad part about this place is that it's stupidly hard to get to if you don't have a car (Stupid Queens). Get directions here. Middle of Nowhere. 718-217-4685

Sometimes Queens is Cool - New York Hall of Science - Flushing hasn't been cool since 1964 and the 2 weeks of the US Open don't make up for the Mets. But this place is actually worth getting on the 7 train for. Tons of interactive exhibits, including a sports section. (How fast can you throw a baseball? Can you return a 120mph tennis serve? Who would win in a drag race between you and your friends?) This place has everything; it's highly educational and tons of fun for kids and adults. It's open year round, but it's free Sundays from 10 to 11am (and Fridays from 2 to 5pm) from September to June only (during the school year). 47-01 111th St, Queens. 718-699-0005

It's just like Lincoln Center, only free - NYPL for the Performing Arts - Every Sunday, check out the Cullman Center (in Lincoln Center) to treat your ears to a little respite from the cacophony of the City streets (that's an SAT sentence if I ever heard one). Sometimes chamber music, sometimes classical, maybe a little opera sprinkled in there, but it always goes down easy. :) Concerts usually start at 2:30, but sometimes 1:30, so check the schedule before you head out. Cullman Center, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza (it's toward the back). (917) 275-6975

Get Not Fat - Lululemon Athletica - Every Sunday morning at 10am, Lululemon in Union Square offers a free fitness class to kick your butt into shape. The classes range from Boogie Boxing (kick boxing + hip hop = boogie box) to Zumba (I don't know either, but I swear I copied that right). Check the schedule to find out what you're in for today. So when you're done reading this post, don't facebook, don't youtube, get off your couch and get skinny. 15 Union Square West, b/t 14th and 15th. 212-675-5286

Classic Brooklyn - Brooklyn Public Library - What better way to unwind on your Sunday afternoon than sitting back and listening to free live classical music? These concerts run from October to May (check the schedule to make sure - sometimes they skip a week) and they get some of the best performers around. And the theatre feels like a high school auditorium, and that just makes me smile. :) Dweck Center, Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza. 718-230-2100

Yup. More Classical Music - Roerich Museum - Roerich is a russian artist that also dabbled in science and spirituality. It's a really random museum (and helps if you speak Russian, everyone I've spoken to has a thick accent) and if you feel like visiting, it's free (well, by donation). But what actually matters is that Roerich felt arts and culture were paramount to attaining peace, so they offer free shows every Sunday (from October-ish to April). Concerts start at 5pm and last about 90 minutes, so if you're up by Morningside Heights, check it out. 319 West 107th St, b/t B'way and Riverside Dr. 212-864-7752

What the Frick? - Frick Collection - This is one of the coolest small art museums in the City. The whole thing is just some guy's house (Mr. Frick, probably) and the art inside is stuff that he bought. And then after he died they added a little to it and turned it into a museum. Some day I hope my house is cool enough that people will pay to come in and see it. As for now, people would pay to not come to my house (you know, they're scared of the Bronx). Whatever. So check out this collection. The house alone is worth the visit. The art, furniture, and sculptures make it amazing. And it's pay-what-you-wish from 11am to 1pm every Sunday, so go then. 5th Ave and 70th. 212-288-0700

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

And don't forget, you always have these other NYC free events available every day!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday - Free NYC Events

Woohoo! It's Saturday!! And you don't have to fix anything in the house because you live in an apartment! And that's what Supers are for. So fill your day with some of these:

Free Yoga!! - Lululemon Athletica - It's hard to find weekly free yoga in the City. Sure, they'll do special events like Flavorpill's Great Lawn yoga class with 13k participants (thanks for the free mat, JetBlue), but for people that like to stretch and find their center on a more regular basis, you've got to pay. Or get a wii. But not any more! Lululemon in Union Square offers free "Sunshine Yoga" classes every Saturday morning at 9am (check here to make sure, sometimes they skip a week). The class lasts an hour. Bring your own stuff. They also do free yoga in Bryant Park every Tuesday and Thursday from May through September, weather permitting. AND if you want to get in on their free fitness class, that's Sunday mornings at 10. Go Lululemon! Way to help make NYC not fat. 15 Union Square West, b/t 14th and 15th. 212-675-5286

Pick Flowers for Your Lover - NY Botanical Garden - Actually, don't pick these flowers. They'll probably throw you out. But if you do get thrown out it's ok because you got in free! This is one of the largest botanical gardens in the country and it's all yours for free if you get there between 10am and noon. If you can't make it today, Wednesdays are free all day too. Bedford Park Blvd at Kazimiroff Blvd. 718-817-8700

Get Drunk - Chelsea Brewing Company - This is the only active brewery in Manhattan, and they give free tours every SaTOURday (get it? they're so clever) from 2 to 6pm every hour on the hour. They can fit 40 people to a tour, so get there early and enjoy the view (awesome!) after you put your name in. The tour is ridiculously informative. Afterward you'll have all the knowledge you need to go make your own beer. They give you a taste after the tour and then discounts for pints. I've heard the restaurant and bar aren't all that great, so get your food elsewhere. Pier 59, Chelsea Piers. 212-336-6440

Free Movies!! - Sony Wonder - Poor Sonic would lose every time against Mario, but Sony Wonder beats the Nintendo Store for sure. Well, at least on Saturdays. At 2pm, enjoy a free screening of decently popular movies in their (73-seat) High Def Theater. Call before you go to make sure you can get a ticket. You can reserve yours any time from Monday up until showtime. Sony Plaza, 56th b/t Madison and Lex. 212-833-7858

Guys! Jesus was Jewish - Jewish Museum - If you're wandering up Museum Mile, stop in here on Saturday. It's free all day (11am to 5:45pm), but you can't buy anything at the gift shop because that part is closed (you know, it being the sabbath and all). They're known for their special exhibits; their permanent collection is meh. I don't know. I was blown away by the Jewish Museum in Berlin, so this one just doesn't do it for me. But if you can't get to Berlin, go here. 5th Ave at 92nd St. 212-423-3200

Act Your Shoe Size, Not Your Age - Brooklyn Children's Museum - This was the first children's museum in the world. And it's still the best. It's interactive and engages your kids, from toddlers to teenagers. Even adults like it. Be sure to bring an extra set of clothes for the kids because they'll definitely be playing in the water section. The museum is free from 2 to 5pm on the 2nd and 4th full weekends (and 5 to 7:30pm on the third Thursday of the month, too). 145 Brooklyn Ave at St. Marks Ave. 718-735-4400

Aloha on the Hudson - New York Outriggers - I'm not even gonna ask if you've done this because you haven't. You may have been on a rowboat in Central Park or kayaked around in circles (see the next thing on this list) but Outrigger Canoes are a whole new ball game. This Hawaiian/Polynesian boat is a team sport (which also means you have to sign up in advance) and ridiculously fun. It's free for beginners. They do three classes on Saturday morning; first one starts at 10:30. Check their site for times and for info on how to sign up. Open late Spring to early Fall. Pier 66 (26th St, just north of Chelsea Piers). 973-632-7764

Anyone can Kayak - Downtown Boathouse - If you know how to swim (and if you don't yet, you can learn how to swim for free too) then they'll let you take out a Kayak from any of three Hudson River locations. You get it for 20 minutes and you have to stay within the protected area so you don't get eaten by the Beast, but it's fun to paddle around for a while and splash your friends. Times vary by location, so check the website for specifics, but usually it's about 9 to 5 every weekend. Various locations. No Phone. Email:

So Good it's Got 3 G's - The Guggenheim - It's got a decent collection of impressionist, modern, and contemporary art. Nothing really famous like the MET or the MoMA, but still some good stuff. But let's be honest, you're not going there for the art, are you? Go to take a picture of the building. It's Frank Lloyd Wright in his prime. Saturday's are pay-what-you-wish from 5:15 to 7:45pm. 1071 5th Ave at 88th St. 212-423-3500

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

And if you think those are all pretty lame, check out these other NYC free events available every day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday - Free NYC Events

I don't understand why anybody works on Fridays. I mean, you've already done 4 days straight. You deserve a break. Call in sick and head to one of these events:

Island Getaway - Biking on Governor's Island - This runs from April through mid-October, so don't think you can do a little Christmas biking or a Valentine's date. The free ferry to the island leaves from the slip right next to the Staten Island Ferry. The free bikes are offered from 10am to 3:30pm, but there's a line, so get there early or be prepared to wait. You can keep your bike free for an hour, which is more than enough time to see the entire island. Then return the bike and just hang out on the island, it's really cool.

Kind of a Big Deal - MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art is arguably the best and most influential modern art museum in the world. (I've been to the Tate Modern and the Pompidou. Both are cool, but not quite the MoMA.) Normally it's $20, but from 4 to 8pm on Fridays, it's free. There's always a line, but it moves quick. Even if you've studied art before, you'll recognize a ton of stuff in here. And there's something for everyone - art, sculpture, architecture, film, and even cartoons. So go and explore. And if getting into one of the top museums in the world for free isn't enough for you, they have free movie screenings too.

Free Concerts - Every Friday morning from May-ish to the end of August (at the crack of dawn - ugh) top acts perform live for New York morning shows. Summerstage is put on by Good Morning America on a sweet stage behind the bandshell in Central Park. The other concerts are put on by NBC's Today Show at Rockefeller Center. Concerts "start" at 7am (they do the sound checks then and a few practice songs first, the actual live performance usually isn't until after 8. I'll make a comprehensive list next summer when the 2011 season is announced to make these easier to search.

Real New York Art - Bronx Museum of the Arts - Take the B or the D to 167th. It may seem far away but it's easy to get to and worth the trip. This is modern and contemporary art, but not weird modern art, it's the good stuff. And it's got a real New Yorker feel. A lot of the exhibitions are inspired by the Bronx and NYC in general. There's a lot of interactive stuff and the staff is really friendly and helpful. It's free all day Friday, and open from 11am to 8pm.

Sometimes Queens is Cool - New York Hall of Science - Flushing hasn't been cool since 1964 and the 2 weeks of the US Open don't make up for the Mets. But this place is actually worth getting on the 7 train for. Tons of interactive exhibits, including a sports section. (How fast can you throw a baseball? Can you return a 120mph tennis serve? Who would win in a drag race between you and your friends?) This place has everything; it's highly educational and tons of fun for kids and adults. It's open year round, but it's free Fridays from 2 to 5pm (and Sundays from 10 to 11am) from September to June only (during the school year). 47-01 111th St, Queens. 718-699-0005

Free Movies!! - NYPL for the Performing Arts - This is even cheaper than Netflix. And I don't have a Wii, so I have to wait for snail-mail. :( We all know I have the attention span of a 6-year-old, so forget about that. Instead, check out Saturday's flicks at the Cullman Center (in Lincoln Center). Unlike the feature length movies they play on Tuesday, they usually play a bunch of shorts back-to-back on Saturdays. Altogether, they last about 90 minutes. It's a fun afternoon if you can make it. The first show starts at 2:30.

For Smart People Only - Morgan Library - The Morgan is a place for people who are much more intelligent than me. This place is for people who prefer the actual classics to their much easier counterpart (and the only reason I got through high school English): Cliffs Notes. But if you get excited by an original manuscript of Dickens' Christmas Carol, a Gutenberg Bible, or signed compositions by Mozart, then the Morgan is for you. Free for two hours on Friday night, from 7 to 9pm. 225 Madison Ave at 36th.

Art by Poor People - American Folk Art Museum - Ok, I don't know what classifies art as "folk art" but according to Wikipedia, it's art by poor people. But if you want to see for yourself, it's free on Friday nights from 5:30 to 7:30. And it's right next to MoMa, which is also free from 4 to 8, so if you're at MoMA and you want to get away from the crowds, come here for a minute. I've heard you can get through the whole thing pretty quickly - it's not very big. They also have free music starting at 5:30.

History Buffs Only - New York Historical Society - We all know that New York is the center of the universe and it's the most important city. Ever. So it's no surprise that there exists a museum that shows how New York played a role in every historical event, ever. Or just in America's history. Or whatever. I fell asleep during history class. But if you like history and you like New York, you should come here. And come Friday between 6 and 8pm, because it's free. It's next door to the Museum of Natural History, which is always pay-what-you-wish, so you can combine the two for a full day of education, if your brain could handle that. Mine couldn't; you'd find me passed out over a Shake Shack burger (which is now open right behind the museum).

All-American Art - The Whitney Museum - The Whitney is a great collection of 20th and 21st century American art. I think it's the most overpriced museum in the City. But it's worth seeing, it just hurts to spend that much. So don't. Fridays from 6 to 9pm is pay-what-you-wish. And since they gouge people every other day, don't feel bad about shelling over the change you found in your futon last night. 945 Madison Ave at 75th.

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

And if you think those are all pretty lame, check out these other NYC free events available every day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday - Free NYC Events

It's almost the weekend, but who wants to wait until then when you can do free stuff right now:

Lincoln Center? Free? - Target Free Thursdays - Because Target makes a ridiculous amount of money, they hook up the little people (us) by providing free stuff like free concerts at Lincoln Center or Free Fridays at MoMA. The shows take place in the new David Rubenstein Atrium and include performances from their jazz, chamber music, and Juilliard schools, but also mix in some latin, pop, spoken word, and dancing. Check the calendar to see what's going on tonight. Btw, the atrium is pretty cool in and of itself (you know, on other days): free wi-fi, a TKTS of sort for same-day discounted Lincoln Center performances, and its very own 'wichcraft. And who doesn't love 'wichcraft? Broadway at 65th. 212-875-5000

Afternoon Delight - Trinity Church - If you can't make it to McDonald's on Broadway at Cortlandt St (you know they have a baby grand upstairs and a professional pianist plays every weekday lunch, right?) then walk down another few blocks to Wall Street and hang out at Trinity Church. Every Thursday at 1pm, they hold an hour long classical recital. Great music and a great venue. Broadway at Wall Street. 212-602-0870

Designers and cool people - IDNY Meetup - This is a unique social networking group that gathers designers, architects, and other fans of scale models and autocad and stuff. Once a month (on the second Thursday), about 300 people gather together at a different location somewhere in Manhattan. They discuss innovative designs, talk about new technologies and ideas, and drink and mingle. It's fun. You should go. Various locations.

Act Your Shoe Size, Not Your Age - Brooklyn Children's Museum - This was the first children's museum in the world. And it's still the best. It's interactive and engages your kids, from toddlers to teenagers. Even adults like it. Be sure to bring an extra set of clothes for the kids because they'll definitely be playing in the water section. The museum is free from 5 to 7:30pm on the third Thursday of the month (and 2 to 5pm on the 2nd and 4th full weekends too). 145 Brooklyn Ave at St. Marks Ave. 718-735-4400

You won't bring this girl home to meet your parents - Nurse Bettie - This Lower East Side Burlesque show brings in a huge crowd every Wednesday and Thursday night because not only is there no cover* but you also get your first beer for free* too. The * there is because it's only free if you know the password. You can get the password on twitter a few hours before the show, which starts around 10pm. 106 Norfolk Street, b/t Delancey and Houston. 212-477-7515

Ok. These next two things are Pay What You Wish. So although they're technically not free, they're close enough. Don't feel bad about paying in silver change. Just keep your eyes on the sidewalk on the way there, you'll find your entry fee.

It's not just Finger Paintings - Children's Museum of the Arts - This place is basically for kids between 2 and 10, so don't bring your college kids here for their art projects. The main purpose of this place is to provide kids with every art supply you can think of and see what they come up with. From painting to sculpting to making costumes. They also have exhibitions to look at too. The place is pay-what-you-wish from 4-6pm on Thursdays. 182 Lafayette Street, b/t Broome and Grand. 212-274-0986

MoMA + Cooper Hewitt = Museum of Arts and Design - This is seven floors of modern art made of everything from bugs to glass to wood. Sometimes trippy, sometimes weird, but always worth it on a pay-what-you-wish day, which is Thursday from 6 to 9pm. Located right on Columbus Circle, with a decent restaurant on the 7th floor which gives you a sweet view up Broadway. 2 Columbus Circle. 212-299-7777

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

And if you think those are all pretty lame, check out these other NYC free events available every day!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday - Free NYC Events

Did you know "Wednesday" is the name of a 1970's Canadian pop band? Yeah. Tell your friends. They'll think you're cool for knowing some Wednesday trivia. And if that's not enough, tell them about all the free stuff you can do on Wednesdays:

Roller Derby Practice - Wednesday Night Skate - Practice weaving in and out of tourists and traffic with this great local tradition that's been going on for years. Meet up with 50 to 100 other skaters at Union Square every Wednesday from April to October at 7:45pm (down at the south side across from Forever 21). They pick a new route every week, usually about 12 miles worth (it takes a couple hours with breaks) and then everyone goes over to Mumbles to drink, eat and mingle, skates and all.

Flowers for Everyone - New York Botanical Garden - According to every website I've seen, this garden is the "Premiere" botanical garden in the U.S. The place is ginormous and can easily take an entire day to explore. I say spring for the tram (it's narrated, relaxing, and informative). But if you want it to stay free, just meander through their seemingly endless gardens. It's free all day Wednesday, or from 10am to noon on Saturday.

Don't Feed the Monkeys - Bronx Zoo - Admission on Wednesday's is by donation, so you can get in for $1 if you want. I'm counting that as pretty much free. You can find a few quarters if you just clean your room. When you get to the zoo, grab a map and write down the times for the tiger show and the sea lions. Those are our favorites. And the lions are fun too. And the kids will love all the interactive stuff too.

Date Night! - Judson Memorial Church - On the first and third Wednesday of every month, the Judson Memorial Church puts on a free dinner and a movie. They bring home cooked meals (it's potluck if you want to bring something - they appreciate it, but it's definitely not required). Sometimes they forego the movie for live entertainment. Check the website before you go so you know what to expect. The Church/Theater is right on Washington Square in Manhattan. Dinner gets going at 7:30, entertainment starts at 8.

Classical Lunch - Midtown Concerts - Take a break from the stress and monotony of your 9-5 job with a half hour of classical music put on by ARTEK. Shows start promptly at 1:15 and run every Wednesday from September to May. They just moved venues up to a Lutheran Church at 88th and Lex. Check the website for details about upcoming performances.

Jazzy Lunch - Guitar Afternoon - If you're up around Lincoln Center for lunch, stop in at the old Folk Art Museum (across from Lincoln Center) to check out Bill Wurtzel, a ridiculously talented guitarist, for an hour of great jazz music. He performs from 2 to 3pm. 2 Lincoln Square.

You won't bring this girl home to meet your parents - Nurse Bettie - This Lower East Side Burlesque show brings in a huge crowd every Wednesday and Thursday night because not only is there no cover* but you also get your first beer for free* too. The * there is because it's only free if you know the password. You can get the password on twitter a few hours before the show, which starts around 10pm.

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

And if you think those are all pretty lame, check out these other NYC free events available every day!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday - Free NYC Events

Tuesdays aren't just for Morrie any more. Make the most of your Tuesday:

Stop and Smell the Roses - Brooklyn Botanical Garden - This is the best botanical garden in New York (yeah, every borough has one). It's open year-round and although the cherry trees are best in April and the Lily Pond is best in the summer, it's pretty all the time. By far my favorite part is the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Go ahead, click that link and scroll through the pictures. They have educational classes and a children's garden (got any kids age 2-17?) planted and harvested by local kids. The Garden gets more than 900k visitors a year. Let's get that up over a million. It deserves it.

Classical Lunch on South Street - Juilliard Chamber Music - There's no website for this one, you'll just have to trust me. If you work in the Financial District, head over to 180 Maiden Lane (two blocks down from South Street Seaport) any Tuesday from September to June at 12:30 to listen to the most talented classically trained youth in the world. It takes place in the Continental Center and lasts for an hour.

Free Movies!! - NYPL for the Performing Arts - Who wants to pay $13 for a movie? Not me. Not when you can see classics like "Prix de Beauté" and "That Touch of Mink" with Cary Grant and Doris Day. Ok, I've never heard of either, but it's a fun afternoon if you can make it. Screenings take place every Tuesday at 2:30 in the Cullman Center in Lincoln Center.

There's No Turning Back Now - Staten Island Museum - If you somehow find yourself on the Staten Island Ferry, because somebody told you it's a great way to see lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty for free, as soon as you pass Liberty Island you'll realize that you're headed to Staten Island. And there's nothing you can do about it. If this happens, you can wander two blocks to the Staten Island Museum, which is free on Tuesdays between 12 and 2pm. Take notes and email them to me because I will probably never go to Staten Island. And I'm ok with that.

Designer Everything - Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum - Based in Andrew Carnegie's ridiculously cool mansion on 91st and 5th Ave (part of Museum Mile), this museum is part of the Smithsonian collection. So you know it's got to be big and cool. Check out innovative designs of everything from furniture to art to swords.

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

And if you think those are all pretty lame, check out these other NYC free events available every day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday - Free NYC Events

It's Monday!! And you have nothing to do? :( Why not try one of these:

Get your Exercise on - BeFitNYC Free First Mondays - Rec centers in all five boroughs open their doors the first Monday of every month so you can swim, lift weights, practice your best yoga poses, or join any of their various fitness classes all for free. Check their page for the nearest rec center to you.

Get Crafty - Etsy Labs - Head over to DUMBO for some "craftivities" at this arts and craft world headquarters from 4 to 8pm every Monday. Bring your scrapbook or art project and get free professional help from the Etsy staff, or buy something in their shop and start something new.

Story Time - Housing Works Bookstore Cafe - Head down to Soho if you have a 3 year old (or younger). Every Monday morning at 11:30, enjoy free stories and songs in the kid's section. 126 Crosby Street. 212-334-3324

Get Modern - Movement Research - Every Monday at 8pm, Movement Research puts on a free show at the Judson Church at Washington Square. I'm not gonna lie, I don't really get it. But if you're into that sorta thing, check it out. Oh, and leave the kids at home, from what I saw on their YouTube page, some performances are definitely NOT family friendly.

Sing us a Song, you're the Piano Man - Boxcar Lounge - Ok, you're not the piano man, but you could be the singer. Boxcar Lounge hosts Piano Bar Mondays at 10pm every week, and if you think you're good enough, they'll even let you sing your favorite tune. No cover, no minimum ever. Just good old clean family fun. Ok, that part is a lie. It doubles as a cabaret too.

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

And if you think those are all pretty lame, check out these other NYC free events available every day!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Every Day - Do Free Stuff

You're in New York. Don't be lame. Do something:

Play - Rockefeller Park in Battery City - Go over to the parkhouse and you can borrow anything from wiffle ball bats to frisbees to hula hoops. They've got enough hockey sticks and lacrosse equipment for a good game of pick-up with your friends, and sidewalk chalk to keep the little ones entertained. Open every day from May to October.

Get High - The High Line - Don't do drugs. Not when you can do cool stuff like wander along an old El Train track. Right now about a half mile of the 1.5 mile stretch is open to the public. Expect some nature, great modern architecture (mixed seamlessly with the original 1930's structure), and a relaxing way to gain a brand new perspective (on life, Manhattan, the Hudson, whatever). You can enter at Gansevoort St in the Meat Packing district or at 20th Street and 10th Ave (and a few places in-between).

Pray - Or don't. Try meditating. Or if all else fails, just take a nap in one of these great churches. I just think the buildings are cool. Some of the best architecture in the City can be found in three very different churches: Trinity Church (Wall St and B'way), St. Patrick's Cathedral (5th Ave and 51st), and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Amsterdam and 112th). Each have different appeals to me: the woodwork and carvings in the entrance of Trinity Church are amazing; the Stations of the Cross in St. Pat's are unlike anything I've seen (even in European cathedrals); and the vertical tour of St. John's gives you an extremely rare view of the architecture that holds up these massive structures.

Get Rich - Federal Reserve Bank of NY - They give free tours of the gold vault six times daily, Monday through Friday. No briefcases, wheelbarrows, or transmatter rays allowed, so you'll have to be creative if you want to walk out of there with some gold bricks. Reservations must be made in advance so don't think you can just walk in and get rich quick.

Read a Book - But not at home, that's boring. Check out the Rose Reading Room of the New York Public Library at 42nd Street and 5th Ave. Three ginormous murals span the ceiling of this 300' room (that's the distance from home plate to the warning track in Yankee Stadium), and the oak tables and bronze lamps make it the most majestic "study hall" ever built. And don't worry about a library card, I've never needed one. Free wi-fi and miles of books on any topic you can imagine.

Be a Tourist - My dad has lived in New York forever, but he had never been up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty until my brothers and I made him take us. And now because of stupid terrorists, they don't allow anybody up there anymore. Now I'm not saying they're ever going to close Times Square (although with Virgin gone now it doesn't feel the same - but my wife loves the new Forever 21 that replaced it) or shut down Rockefeller Center. I'm saying that it's a shame that locals never see some of the things that make New York great because they're considered tourist traps. If you haven't been to Times Square in a while, it's completely new now - Broadway is a pedestrian only street, Forever 21 and the Disney Store are there, and the red stairs over TKTS in Father Duffy Square make a great viewpoint that we've never had before. Rockefeller Center isn't just for skating and Christmas trees. It's one of the most grand open spaces in the City, with benches throughout to take a break and people-watch, great shops (how can you go wrong with Nintendo, Legos, and Magnolia Bakery cupcakes - which I think are just ok, but if you bring a girl there they will LOVE you), and if you haven't been to the Top of the Rock ($21 but they hand out $2 off coupons at street level, so look for them), you need to go. Forget the Empire State Building, this is the best observation deck. Those are the main ones, but you know what tourists see.

Go Park Hopping - I. Love. Central Park. I proposed to my wife on top of Belvedere Castle. Our wedding reception was even held on the Great Hill. And just like at Rockefeller Park (see above), you can borrow games from any of the information booths throughout the park, or get binoculars, a sketch pad, and a bird book from the castle. You can spend days on end in Central Park and never see all of it. But when you're ready to move on, try one of the other 1700 parks in New York City. My other favorites are Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Bryant Park on 42nd at 6th Ave.

Get Cultured - Almost every museum in the City has some sort of deal, on some day, where you can get in for free. From Free Fridays at the MoMA (from 4-8pm) to the Brooklyn Children's Museum free Wednesday (from 2-5pm). Others are free all the time, like the Forbes Magazine Gallery or the Museum at F.I.T. And then you have "Pay-What-You-Wish" museums like the Museum of Natural History and the MET, where I've seen people give spare change for admission. Here's a basic list:

- The MET - 5th Ave and 82nd St - One of the largest art galleries in the world. Contains everything from Byzantine to Egyptian to European to modern art, and lots of American stuff. PWYW all the time.

- The MoMA - 53rd St b/t 5th and 6th - Modern Art. It's cool. I think it's better than the Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Modern in London. Yeah. We rock. Free Fridays from 4 to 8pm. Be warned: It will be packed and you will stand in a long line. This is not a secret deal.

- Museum of Natural History - Central Park West at about 79th - According to most of the people I know, this is the coolest museum ever. If you don't know what's in here, watch Night at the Museum. PWYW all the time.

- The Guggenheim - 5th Ave and 88th St -Impressionist and contemporary art, but the main draw is the building itself, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. PWYW on Saturdays from 5:15 to 7:15pm.

- Forbes Magazine Gallery - 6th Ave and 12th St - An interesting little gallery containing toy soldiers, antique monopoly games, and various paintings and other collections. Always free. Tues through Sat.

- Museum at F.I.T. - 6th Ave and 27th - I'm not even going to pretend that I know anything about fashion. I know I like models. That's about it. But if you want to know anything else, check this place out. Supposedly it's the biggest and best fashion museum on the planet, with everything from costumes to couture. Honestly I thought it was kinda small, but I guess there aren't too many fashion museums out there to compare. Always free. Tues through Sat.

Do you know of something else that should be on this list? Leave it in the comments and I'll check it out and add it.

Hopefully that list gave you some ideas. If not, I've always enjoyed sitting on my fire escape and watching the police helicopters circle around, but I live in the Bronx so maybe that option isn't available where you live.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Thank you for visiting the New York City News and Events blog. I hope you like it. Check back soon (and often) as I'll be posting regular news updates (with links to the full stories) and posting fun NYC events to keep you entertained in the greatest city on earth.
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